John and Lisa Curran have a vision for their retirement, but they weren’t always so clear about what they wanted to achieve and when. It was only when Lisa listened to a presentation at the Chester PIN by Simon King of The Landlord’s Pension that the Curran’s really began to think about their longer-term plan and the importance of pension goals.
Not a regular networker, it was only by chance Lisa had attended, but what Simon had said really hit a nerve. Having three frozen workplace pensions between them, “It was a bit of a Eureka moment”, John confesses. “We knew we had the
pensions just sat there doing nothing. We also knew we wanted to grow the business and invest more in property, so we couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard of the SSAS before then and how perfect it was for our longer-term goals”.
“Starting the SSAS has been a gamechanger”. Lisa Curran started investing in property in 1998, buying her first ‘Buy to Let’. Her sister already owned a small lettings company and had a small portfolio. With this little bit of insight, and forgoing luxuries, Lisa saved every spare penny to gather together deposits for very small properties, together with her new husband John. “This was when we first got the bug”, Lisa explains, “We were buying what we could, learning and doing well, but with no clear future plan” John adds.
When Lisa’s sister decided to sell the Lettings business, John and Lisa took it on, alongside their own day jobs. Now a successful lettings and property sales agency, Lisa gave up her original job to run the business some years ago. John is only just now leaving his role in finance.
Setting goals and longer-term plans hadn’t featured highly in the Currans early strategy, “That is, until our first child was born”, John remembers. At this pivotal point, they booked a weekend in a hotel, took a laptop and a flip chart and thrashed out a 10-year plan. “We were determined and locked into following the plan and achieved it early, in just over 5 years”. John admits, “When we achieved that goal so quickly, my first thought was, crikey, what next?” However, life moves on, more children came along and ‘what next?’ took a back seat, “Until we heard about the SSAS!”.
From the tax efficiency, the loanback and freeing up of funds to the opportunity to look at investing in commercial property, which was new to us”, it offered us so much.
So, what did John and Lisa Curran do with their SSAS pension?
Well, our first move was for our SSAS to buy our business premises from us. We also actually bought the shop next door too!” John begins. Not only had SSAS been the prompt needed to make a move into commercial property, it freed up funds for the Curran’s business to move into the main town.
“We now rent out the original premises so we get tax free rent going into the pension, building the pot”.
The Curran’s business has been elevated and the pension is making capital gains. “We plan to do the same again and use the SSAS to buy our current premises, freeing up more funds, with which we are thinking of investing in a small development site”. With the amazing flexibility of the SSAS pension, the pot will just grow and grow, as will their portfolio.
So, Phase 1 was the original 10-year plan; Phase 2
successfully facilitated by the amazing flexibility and power of the SSAS pension; so what are the Currans looking forward to for Phase 3?
John is clear, “We know exactly where we will be and what we will have at age 55, 8 years away, but we don’t plan to just give up work”. They are now in a position to invest sizable amounts into their pension for retirement, whenever that may be.
“The next step will be to add our children to the SSAS and ensure the trust is set up efficiently for the future”. Educating future generations with regard to pension and investment is so important. The Currans are already setting an example for their progenies. “Our children know a little of what we do and we play the odd cash flow game at home. We have an opportunity with the SSAS and we want them to learn and be a part of it all”.
“In a nutshell, the SSAS has offered us exciting
options that we didn’t know we had”.